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Saturday, 18 December, 1999, 13:58 GMT
Indonesian general to help Timor probe

General Wiranto Genreal Wiranto will co-operate with Indonesian inquiry


Indonesia's former military commander General Wiranto has agreed to provide information to an Indonesian inquiry into human rights abuses during East Timor's struggle for independence.

Mr Wiranto, who was defence minister at the time of the independence vote and subsequent violent campaign by pro-Jakarta militiamen, made the announcement after Indonesia rejected a UN-backed inquiry.

He told reporters he was willing to co-operate with the inquiry since its purpose was to establish facts rather than grounds for prosecution.

He said: "The main thing is, whether summoned or not, whether asked or not, I will give an explanation, give information to the inquiry.

"Its duty is not to prosecute but only to find facts and data in the field."

Deaths and violence

Mr Wiranto has been accused by both the UN and East Timor independence leader Xanana Gusmao of being personally responsible for many of the deaths and violent clashes that gripped East Timor three months ago.

But the newly-appointed political affairs and security minister has denounced the allegations which form the basis of the UN's human rights probe.

"There was no genocide, no massacre and no violence against women by Indonesia's military or police like the international investigators claim," he said.


Xanana Gusmao Xanana Gusmao blames Mr Wiranto for deaths
The UN has said it will allow a team of lawyers representing Indonesian military officers into East Timor.

The group had claimed earlier that it was refused access to witnesses and survivors of the violence that swept the territory after it voted to break away from Indonesia.

The UN is due to present its own report to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan before the end of the year as pressure mounts for a war crimes tribunal along the lines of those currently under way for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia

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See also:
14 Dec 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Wahid: Generals should stand trial
10 Dec 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Calls for UN tribunal on Timor
29 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesia 'responsible' for Timor destruction
25 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Aceh rally at Jakarta parliament

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